Sdtrk: ‘Night night’ by Blank dogs
Flipping through the latest MetroTimes whilst at work, I’d spotted a full-page advert for the 2009 Motor City Comic con. Under normal circumstances, information about that event would evaporate quickly from my brain as I made my way towards the page containing Dan Savage’s column, but three of the special guests slated to appear caught my eye, and held it to such a degree, that I’m considering attending for the first time since the mid-Nineties.
You’ve got Priscilla Barnes, who portrayed Terri Alden for three years on one of my all-time favourite sitcoms, ‘Three’s Company’. Then there’s Joyce DeWitt, who for eight years played Janet Wood, my favourite roommate, on the same show; which is even more astounding, due to the fact that she’s pretty much kept out of the public eye since ‘Three’s Company’ ended. That’s ace enough in and of itself, but! The other guest? JULIE ‘AF-709 / CATWOMAN’ NEWMAR. YES. Only thing is, if I decided to bite the bullet and spend the $20 entrance fee (now you know why they call them ‘cons’), what would I have them sign? Priscilla and Joyce’s choice would be simple; I could have them autograph my copy of ‘Come and knock on our door‘, the rather-inclusive book about ‘Three’s Company’, but what of Julie? I don’t have any paraphernalia from Batman, and I’d really love for her to sign something related to ‘My living Doll‘, the short-lived Sixties sitcom starring Ms Newmar as a Gynoid, but theoretically, they’re still in the process of remastering the episodes. Hrrm.
I’m seriously thinking I should go, though. I mean, how often does the opportunity to meet Terri Alden, Janet Wood and AF-709 under the same roof come up in one’s life?
‘Excuse me, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? And DON’T ANSWER PRACTISE’
Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate [New York City] with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.
Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination. […] The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged.
As Kacie Kinzer is an art school student, the whole exercise is partially a sociological experiment as to how humans interact with non-human beings, so naturally the idea piqued my interest. Besides, the method with which she’s going about it is just plain adorable. Throw in a talking dog, a cat, and a ferret, send the four of them across the country, and you have a family-friendly film just waiting to happen!
So if you reside in NYC and you happen across a Tweenbot that needs assistance, do the right thing, eh? A robot might just help you one day